I passed the graveyard of the pretty church that stands on the boundaries of our village on my run today. It’s a 12th century church and so the gravestones go back quite a few years as you can imagine. There in the sunshine amid the stones that stood around like broken teeth crouched a lady arranging flowers on what appeared to be a new arrival.
It was a touching sight and evoked the many years of love and loyalty she must have shared with the deceased; husband, father, brother, son or possibly loyal companion, who knows. I didn’t think to stop and ask as I puffed by.
Graveyard flowers don’t last long. Open to the elements, they quickly wither to become metaphors of the very dead whose tombs they are set to grace. And I can’t say with any certainty but I’m not sure the dead really appreciate them that much, being as they are, interred. Other gestures left on other stones speak of the lives their owners had enjoyed, a faded teddy bear here and a weather-beaten picture there. Unusable items left for the unusable.
I’d probably like to have a pair of running shoes slung over my headstone. Triathletes might prefer a bike but would probably settle for a puncture repair kit and a pump if the vicar disapproved. I know folks who would be glad of a six pack of Marstons Pedigree or a bottle of Malbec and a copy of Biggunz on their gravestones but that might appear disrespectful.